Ethics Observations On The Unethical Quote Of The Week, By Senator Joe Manshin (D-WV)

Manshin

“But due process is what’s killing us now.”

—- Democratic Senator Joe Manshin, of West Virginia, on MSNBC bemoaning the fact that the government can’t take away your rights based on “suspicion.”

Naturally, nobody on the network immediately responded, “WHAT???” I wonder if there are any broadcast journalists who would have challenged that crypto-fascist statement by a U.S. Senator. Think about that for a minute.

Just so you are clear that the quote isn’t out of context, here is what Manshin said (you can also watch the video here)

“The problem we have and really the firewall that we have right now is due process. It’s all due process. So we can all say, yeah, we want the same thing but how do we get there?” If a person is on the terrorist watch list like the gentleman, the shooter in Orlando, he was twice by the FBI, we were briefed yesterday about what happened, but that man was brought in twice. They did everything they could. The FBI did everything they were supposed to do, but there was no way for them to keep him on the nix list or keep him off the gun buy list. There was no way to do that. So can’t we say that if a person’s under suspicion,  there should be a five-year period of time of time that we have to see if good behavior, if this person continues the same traits, maybe we can come to that type of an agreement? But due process is what’s killing us now.”

Observations:

1. Due process is not a “problem.” Due process is what makes the United States a democracy rather than a police state.

2. Elected officials who don’t embrace due process should not be elected officials, for they are incompetent and untrustworthy.

3. Among those whose statements of late suggest that they do NOT embrace due process are Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, alleged Constitutional scholar Barack Obama, and a disturbing number of Democratic members of Congress and members of the Democratic Party.

4. What Manshin is saying, for those paying attention or capable of critical thinking, is that he would like the government to be able, without being challenged or forced to prove a thing before an objective arbiter, to designate you as a person under suspicion, and by doing so be able to restrict your rights or remove them entirely for five years.

5. Do not do anything but point, laugh and deride the fool who says, “But just gun rights! Only gun rights!” If this can be done to one right, it can be done to any rights. The same argument can and will be made regarding free speech, and the right not to be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures.

6. While the low-IQ hard right is currently tilting toward totalitarianism (that is, Trump supporters), it is the mainstream of the progressive movement and the Democratic Party that is finding the Constitution, written as a bulwark of individual liberty and autonomy against the inherent untrustworthy nature of government power, a “problem.” Be afraid. Be very afraid.

7. Please notice that so far, Manshin’s remarks are only being publicized and challenged by conservative websites and publications. Let me be clearer: a sitting Democratic Senator states on TV that due process is a problem, and only conservative outlets see anything wrong with that sentiment. Let me be clearer still: The mainstream news media is biased, partisan, ignorant, and a disgrace to journalism. The news media, which owes its existence to the Bill of Rights, should be unanimously publicizing Manshin’s idiocy and explaining why it is anti-democratic.

8. Allow me to now defer to lawyer/scholar/author Illya Shapiro, who reacted to Manshin’s statement thusly:

“With all due respect, due process is the essential basis of America. The Constitution was established to “secure the blessings of liberty”—that’s the whole purpose of our government—and that government can’t deny us our life, liberty, or property without due process of law. If the government wants to deny someone’s liberty, it better have an awfully good reason and it better be ready to defend itself in court immediately—akin to what happens when someone is arrested or involuntarily committed. Otherwise, we’d live in a world where perhaps there’s less crime, but also life isn’t worth living.

Senator Manchin may want to live in a police state, but few of us would want to join him there. Count me out of the time machine to East Germany.”

Exactly.

 

20 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Unethical Quote Of The Week, By Senator Joe Manshin (D-WV)

  1. When are the Democrats just going to stand up and say, “The Constitution is responsible for these mass murders.”

    It’s what they are thinking, apparently.

    • I’ll go one better: when will they be honest and just say they don’t like the Constitution because it makes it too hard for the government and people who know better than the public what’s good for them to control every aspect of our lives? Because that is clearly what they think.

      • It’s quite a turnaround isn’t it? I think this is the first generation in American history with a populist movement for the reduction of civil liberties. Oh sure, there’s been a gun debate for a couple of decades, but free speech, due process…. Fundamental inalienable rights suddenly seem more alienable. Pesky things, rights… Why don’t the plebes just let us run things the right way and be done with it?

  2. This was an idiotic statement for him to make. Due Process is a cornerstone of our Democracy. I’m unsatisfied with gun regulations as they stand, but I will not support anything that undermines Due Process.

    • When you have two items on a document that have equal footing under the law, in this case we’re talking about constitutional amendments… What device could one use to modify one of those items without per se being able to modify the other? Attempting to regulate guns DOES undermine Due Process, and Freedom of Speech, and Association, and Emancipation, because whatever tool is used to undermine the right to own firearms has undermined a constitutional right, and once the determination has been made that a constitutional amendment can be changed by that device, the exact amendment is irrelevant.

      If you were actually against anything that undermines Due Process, you really should be against anything to undermine the second amendment. You have to make rules assuming one day they will be used against you; sure it might be a bright and shiny day that Obama uses some as-of-yet-unnamed executive power to curb assault weapon sales, but what if Trump wins? Does Trump get to use that same as-of-yet-unnamed power to reverse it, and then jail some reporters? Why not?

      I appreciate your sentiment, but your execution is disastrous.

  3. The End Is Near
    A short film by Zoltar Speaks!

    (Fade in from black.)

    (Frozen in time: we see Democratic Senator Joe Manshin sitting at a table, from the surrounds, it’s very obvious that he is being interviewed on a TV news show)

    (The action begins when the lights are at full)

    Senator Joe Manshin: (use excessive hand and arm movements but deliver with a straight face no, facial expressions at all) The problem we have and really the firewall that we have right now is due process. It’s all due process. So we can all say, yeah, we want the same thing but how do we get there?” If a person is on the terrorist watch list like the gentleman, the shooter in Orlando, he was twice by the FBI, we were briefed yesterday about what happened, but that man was brought in twice. They did everything they could. The FBI did everything they were supposed to do, but there was no way for them to keep him on the nix list or keep him off the gun buy list. There was no way to do that. So can’t we say that if a person’s under suspicion, there should be a five-year period of time of time that we have to see if good behavior, if this person continues the same traits, maybe we can come to that type of an agreement? But due process is what’s killing us now.

    (A loud crashing noise can be heard from off camera)

    (Everyone pause’s and looks towards the crash, camera slowly pans to the right showing Zoltar Speaks! sitting in the Directors chair with his palm to his forehead)

    Zoltar Speaks!: (shaking his head, pulls his hand away from his head, looks towards Senator Joe Manshin and yells) What the fuck is wrong with you!

    (Cut back to Senator Joe Manshin who has a questioning look on his face, a look like “What did I do?”)

    (Cross fade back to Zoltar Speaks! as he gets up from his chair, walks over to the wall next to the door labeled EMERGENCY EXIT, we see him tear a worn copy of the Constitution off the wall, throw it to the floor, and stomp on it.)

    (Cut back to Senator Joe Manshin, not looking quite as astonished now)

    (Cut back to Zoltar Speaks!)

    Zoltar Speaks!: (with a stern look on his face) You just can’t fix stupid. (Zoltar Speaks! flips Senator Joe Manshin the bird, shakes his head, turns and walks out the exit door in utter disgust)

    (As the door is shutting, the lights fade to black)

    THE END… (fades in for 5 seconds then cross fades to)

    …OF FREEDOM (for 5 seconds and then fades to black)

  4. Why did The Obsolete Man come immediately to mind? “The chancellor, the late chancellor, was only partly correct. He was obsolete. But so is the State, the entity he worshiped. Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man, that state is obsolete. A case to be filed under “M” for Mankind – in The Twilight Zone.”

  5. I am not surprised that MSNBC didn’t challenge the learned Senator from West Virginia. They agree with him. The whole lot of MSNBC talking heads (with maybe a limited exception of Joe Scarborough on occasions) thinks that guns are icky and scary and should just go away (come to think of it, they sound like that six year who threw a tantrum after school because people of being rude to the Earth). Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes weep at night that somebody somewhere may have a firearm. They would all like to the guns gathered up and locked away in a safe to which only they have the key. The Right will go nuts and declare that gun regulations are merely a step toward confiscation and the birth of the police state, a la East Germany (thanks for the imagery, Ilya – as if I don’t have enough to worry about).

    I find no comfort in the purportedly conservative news outlets, either. Who is there to admire? Bill O’Reilly? Sean Hannity? Lou Dobbs? For the love of Pete, these are the same people who believe that, if you have nothing to hide, you should cooperate with police regardless of the legality of the police’s orders because, why, they’re police and they know things. For crying out loud, the only on-air pundit making any kind of sense is Kennedy on Fox Business News but she goes off into the weeds on a whole host of outlier issues on occasion.

    From my limited perspective, I don’t see much difference between the Democrats or the Republicans. They simply disagree over the scope of the federal government’s power, not whether the federal government actually has that power as conferred or provided in and by the Constitution. Neither party has any real objection to extension of executive agency authority. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a prime example of an agency conferring upon itself powers and rules (most arcane and burdened with traps) without any kind of Congressional oversight or approval.

    I used to think that a well-educated citizenry was a prerequisite to a functioning Constitutional republic. Maybe it still is, but we don’t deserve it anymore. There is no real debate anymore, just shouting talking points and finger-waving. You are either a supporter of the Second Amendment or not; a knuckledragging troglodyte or a sage filled with wisdom. The institutions that are supposed to safeguard and protect liberty wholly fail in doing so.

    The ACLU, once a great defender of the individual liberty, simply shrugged its collectivist shoulders and said that gun-loving patriots aren’t entitled to be defended from government overreach and intrusion of privacy. Hate speech? Bad. Hate crimes? Badder.

    The Media have abdicated their Constitutionally protected right to keep government in check. Anderson Cooper bludgeoned Florida’s State Attorney General over whether she is a champion of LGBT… community rights, taking umbrage at the fact that she, as Florida’s legal representative in federal courts, challenged DOMA and gay marriage. Cooper asked her if her opposition to gay marriage prior to the OBERGEFELL was, and is, inconsistent with her support of the families of the Sunday morning’s carnage at a gay nightclub. Any answer she gave was met with derision and contempt. The New York Times editorial board laid blame on Christians opposed to gay marriage, apparently because opposition to gay marriage is based on hate, phobias, and irrational beliefs in an antiquated religious system, stating “The 49 people killed in Orlando were victims of a terrorist attack. But they also need to be remembered as casualties of a society where hate has deep roots.”

    See, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/15/opinion/the-corrosive-politics-that-threaten-lgbt-americans.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    (I guess that would include Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, all of whom opposed gay marriage until it was politically expedient to support and promote it.) Not once, though, did the New York Times seriously examine the monster guilty of such violence and ask, “Well, was he a Christian and Republican?” The answer would/should have been pretty obvious, but for the some reason, linking a pre-Medieval belief system promoted by 10% of a billion practitioners of the religion of peace is promoting hatred, phobia, and disparaging said practitioners. Moreover, President Obama questioned the efficacy and necessity of calling the bloodshed the result of militant or radical Islam – comments wildly praised on MSNBC for their wisdom.

    And the wise, all-knowing-and-seeing Internet has exploded with all kinds of comments, postings, and rantings about guns: “There should be no guns – who needs an AR-15 anyway?” And, the ever-insightful declaration that it is harder to get an abortion is some states than it is buy a high powered rifle, without any real analysis or thought about the issues and interests involved. And that truly engaged and brilliant Cameron Esposito declared, “[s]ince zero women & zero people of color weighed in on the US constitution (sic) when it was written, I assume it may occasionally need a few updates.” See, https://www.facebook.com/cameronjokes/?fref=photo:

    Maybe Benjamin Franklin was correct: “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.” Perhaps we have lost the right to keep it.

    jvb

  6. About a year ago, I drove by the site of Manzanar, near Lone Pine, California. That was where we interned people, not because of what we proved they did, or even for prosecuting them for what they think we did, but for mere suspecting them to be enemies. An apology for those actions would not be for another fifty years.

    If we are to take this path, then we would effectively take back that apology.
    In fact, we might as well reopen Manzanar.

  7. Which is worse – that a legislator could say this? Or that only his political opponents call him out on it? I think the second.

    It’s not an individual problem, but a systemic one.

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